1 Timothy 3:14-16 It is through our lives of godliness that people see God and encounter Him
1 Timothy 3:14-16
14 I am writing these things to you, hoping to come to you before long; 15 but in case I am delayed, I write so that you will know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth. 16 By common confession, great is the mystery of godliness:
He who was revealed in the flesh,
Was vindicated in the Spirit,
Seen by angels,
Proclaimed among the nations,
Believed on in the world,
Taken up in glory.
As the church is in danger of losing her call as pillar and support of the truth, Paul wastes no time and charges Timothy to instruct the church in the way of godliness. In today’s devotion, we learn that the only way for the world to know God is the same way that Jesus did two thousand years ago. Believers are the closest semblance to God our families would ever come to know. It is through our lives that people see God and encounter Him in their midst
I write so that you will know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God…
Paul sends a letter to Timothy ahead of his visit in case he may be delayed by unforeseen circumstances. The purpose of the letter is to instruct the church so that members may conduct themselves in a manner worthy of the church’s calling as the pillar and support of the truth. Paul, in sending the letter reveals the urgency of this endeavour; the church must embody the values system and culture of God’s kingdom. The church is to be the perfect reflection and model of the heavenly kingdom on earth.
By common confession, great is the mystery of godliness…
The concept of godliness cannot be fully grasp by virtue of the fact that God Himself is transcendent and beyond the limits of human comprehension. Thus, Paul sees godliness as a mystery which cannot be derived from human intellect. Godliness can only be grasped by way of divine revelation when God becomes flesh through an ordinary man. Thus, the understanding of the mystery of godliness begins with Jesus: He who was revealed in the flesh. Here, Paul develops the mystery of godliness by tracing the life of Jesus through the well accepted anthem of common confession:
Was vindicated in the Spirit,
This unmistakably points to Jesus’ inaugural baptism by his cousin John where the Holy Spirit in physical form of a dove rest upon Him. It is for righteousness’ sake that Jesus is baptised, “… for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Matthew 3:15. Godliness is revealed through the setting apart of oneself through water baptism and Spirit-filled living. For one to even begin to contemplate a life of godliness, he must first set himself apart from the world and be one with God through the baptism of the Spirit. The descend of the Spirit (in the form of a dove), is the sign of the Father’s approval and righteousness upon Jesus.
Seen by angels,
Recorded throughout Jesus’ earthly ministry are the frequent appearances and participations of angelic beings. The continual presence of the angels not only speaks of the supernatural nature of Jesus’ life, it testifies to angels as being an integral component of Jesus’ administration of God’s kingdom. The participation of angels as evident in Jesus’ ministry must be seen as a pattern extending even to the activities of the modern day church. The common confession attributes godliness to power and authority, to effectual engagement of satanic forces through the angelic armies of God.
Proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world,
The proclamation of the gospel message for the salvation of the world is the desire and heartbeat of Jesus. A life of godliness can be seen through the believer’s desire to help those who are poor and broken, and to see to the spreading of the gospel message to his family, neighbourhood, and to the world.
Taken up in glory.
A life of godliness will on the last day culminate in the glorious resurrection of the body. As evident in the resurrection and ascension of Christ Himself, all who live godly lives will likewise receive a resurrection body like His and be seated with Him in the heavenly realm (see 1 Corinthians 15:20, Ephesians 2:6). Heaven has no place for one who profess to know Christ but possesses none His traits.
Believers are the closest semblance to God their families would ever come to know.
Paul rebukes the Jews of his days for posing a hindrance to Gentile non-believers seeking to know God: “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you” Romans 2:24. The Jews openly profess their faith in God and declare His blessings and forgiveness over themselves, but their lives do not emanate the life changing power of the gospel. Regrettably, many non-believers seeking to encounter God have come to accept the notion of Christianity as a religion without conscience. As it was in the days of Isaiah, Ezekiel and Paul, so it is with the condition of the church today. In fact, some quarters of non-believers who are looking for quick fixes will find the church expedient for their agenda. As a result, the present day church is filled by people who have little to no semblance of God.
The true seekers of the world are searching for the secret to godliness and intimacy with God. Such are considered low hanging fruits and crops ready for picking. Jesus, in declaring the fields as already white for harvest is in fact referring to true seekers waiting to enter God’s kingdom but was hindered by the Jews. God is calling all believers to return to godliness, to walk the narrow path and thus, fulfill the call of Christ. In doing so, not only will believers reap souls previously thought as unreachable, a whole new realm of supernatural experiences will suddenly be opened to them.
The only access your family members have to God is you. It is through your life of godliness that they see God and encounter Him in their midst.
Optimism sustains your dreams but godliness with diligence fulfills it.
Faith without works is just plain optimism. One may have confidence in God’s willingness to bless, but if he does not know God or walk in His ways, he will never experience those magnificent promises. Many churchgoers are taught to appropriate God’s promises by verbally claiming them in Jesus’ name. For them, Christ is reduced to a means to fulfill their personal agenda. However, the psalmist wrote of enduring blessings and prosperity for those who are godly,
Praise the Lord!
How blessed is the man who fears the Lord,
Who greatly delights in His commandments.
His descendants will be mighty on earth;
The generation of the upright will be blessed.
Wealth and riches are in his house,
And his righteousness endures forever. Psalms 112:1-3
Blessings, wealth and mighty descendants unmistakably belongs to the man who fears the Lord. Without godliness, there will never be enduring prosperity and most importantly, the hope of eternal glory. Hence, Paul is being very forthright in his charge to Timothy to instruct the people in the conduct of godliness: I write to you so that you will know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God. The vision of the church is to be the pillar and support of the truth, the seed of godliness on earth. God promises enduring blessings and glory for the believer who sets his vision on the call of Christ and to accomplish his commission. What is a godly life like? It has a semblance of Christ’s earthly life that proceeds from the same vine and that bears the same fruit: revealed in the flesh. He continually emanates the fragrance of the Spirit, the virtues of love, joy and peace and kindness wherever he goes: vindicated in the Spirit. He is intimately involved in the supernatural work of the kingdom by discharging his authority through the angels: seen by angels. His passion and heartbeat are always for the needy and for the salvation of the world: Proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world. A godly life will on the last day receive a glorious resurrection body: Taken up in glory.
Are you trying too hard to do evangelism while encountering countless rejections in your efforts? By focusing on being Christ-like and by putting on His virtues, we are in fact actively doing evangelism. In this way, our manner of life speaks more clearly and vividly than words. How do we live a Christ-like life? By carefully reading the gospels, we observe the way Jesus conducts Himself while dealing with different categories of people that cross His path. In due process, the Spirit imbues into us the truths that are at work in Jesus.
Have you spent much time praying over your problems but to no avail? Perhaps it is time to put your problems aside and listen to God’s instructions daily and follow Him. In doing so, He sees your faith at work and will lift you up. Therefore, you should no longer focus on your problems but on a lifestyle of obedience, and He will make all things well in His time.
Dear Lord, as I read your word, cause me to understand the truths that are at work in your life. Help me to do what you did and open my eyes to the supernatural workings of the angels. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.